Working as a duo for more than 20 years and describing nearly 1,500 hockey matches builds complicity.
If they were first colleagues, Martin McGuire and Dany Dubé became true friends. Even more, confidants. And this is why they have become references in their field.
Launched last week, the book Good game !written in collaboration with François Couture, retraces the journey of these men whose voices have sent shivers down the spines of millions of Quebec hockey fans since the fall of 2002.
A year ago, almost to the day, Couture came into contact with the two descriptors of the Cogeco network. He was first and foremost a listener. Then, he turned into a collector of memories. “I thought about it longer,” admits McGuire, from the top of the catwalk before the preseason game against the Toronto Maple Leafs last Friday.
“Is that pretentious?” he asked himself. I didn’t want to ramble on for 240 pages. But François understood us, because he listened to us. He followed us and understood who we were. »
Dany Dubé understood, at the end of the process, why this book had to be written: “He convinced us that our story was a beautiful story, because we are two friends. »
When McGuire and Dubé met in their booth just before the interview began, they hugged each other like they hadn’t seen each other in ages.
Like two friends at the start of the school year. However, they meet regularly. Even when the red light indicating on-air is off.
Over time, they became true friends. They are present at each other’s family gatherings and their spouses have also become very close.
And this friendship is the backbone of this 248-page book published by Éditions de l’Homme.
Our friendship has become more important than our relationship as colleagues or our work.
According to him, “when the professional side is over, we will still be friends and we will still call each other often. Professional chemistry worked instantly,” he recalls.
At the time, Dubé was initially supported by Pierre Rinfret with the description. But during Super Bowl weekend in 2002, McGuire was called in to replace Rinfret. The chemistry was such that management hired McGuire for the start of the following season. Twenty years later, the two men are still as passionate about their work. And above all, they are still as complicit.
“The joy we have in being there together, both of us, you can hear it,” believes Dubé.
The duo believes, in fact, that this complicity explains its success and its duration on the air.
Loving your work
Among the approximately 1,500 matches described, some were certainly less exciting. Matches in March, during the week, between two teams excluded from the playoff picture, for example.
Yet, each time, the same passion drives them. As if the two teams were fighting for a place in spring ball. How is it possible ?
“By loving your job,” McGuire replies.
“You can’t be a good chef and have a good restaurant if you become jaded with cooking. You can’t be a good political columnist if politics starts to bore you,” he continues.
Over the course of a season, he misses a maximum of two practices, he reports. “Probably for dentist appointments. And it’s not torture to go to practices. We both have this love of sport. »
For Dubé, “the result of the match is creaming. If the Canadian doesn’t win, that doesn’t stop us from doing our job. We take great pleasure in building the history of the match.”
With the advent of social networks and the propensity for comments, the rigor and importance of facts, without partisanship, is a commodity that is sometimes becoming rarer.
For both men, it is imperative to maintain the same line of conduct that has defined their work and analysis over the past two decades.
“It’s vital,” insists Dubé.
Even though they rub shoulders with Canadiens players on an almost daily basis and the majority of their listeners are Habs supporters, accuracy, objectivity and criticism are an integral part of their identity.
We are at the service of listeners. People today listen with attentive ears and do not want to be fooled. We have to say things as they are. Because the day when people no longer believe in you, it no longer passes.
The latter even tells an anecdote about a former Canadian player: “This player told us that the elements of Dany’s analysis, which he listened to when returning home, he heard them in team meetings with the coaches the next day. »
There is a fine line between critical commentary and partisan commentary. Especially when the subjects are people in the same environment: “We are not the players’ friends. We greet each other politely. And they respect that about us, because they tell us after their career,” maintains Dubé.
If friendship is impossible between the players and them, it is crucial between the two stars of 98.5 FM. Because at the end, when the red light announces the end of the broadcasts, that will remain.
Good game !
Editions de l’Homme
A lot of
The match you would like to describe again
McGuire: “The comeback game against the New York Rangers, because I missed the description of the shootout goal of [Saku] Koivu. I no longer had a voice. I took it too high at first and it stuck. »
Dubé: “The 2014 Olympic final match in Sochi. To be able to do TV [à Radio-Canada] with Martin, it’s one of the moments that makes me the most proud. »
The match you would have preferred not to describe
McGuire: “The match where [Max] Pacioretty was almost crippled in front of us. It was really sad. We came within half a centimeter of a tragedy. »
Dubé: “Chara-Pacioretty, I would have liked to skip my turn, too. »
The best arena for description
McGuire: “Boston!” That’s always the feeling there is before a Canadian-Bruins duel. The amphitheater is ugly, the walls are black, but we played four seventh games. »
Dubé: “In Boston, it smells like chicanery. »
Worst arena for description
McGuire: “The old New York Islanders arena. In second place: Nashville. For commentators, because Nashville doesn’t have a press gallery as such. It’s as if they’ve dug a press box into the wall behind the last row of stands. »
Dubé: “Anaheim. It doesn’t make sense because it’s tiny. We don’t even have a technician with the rest of us. It makes no sense. »
The personality having pleasantly surprised you
McGuire: “Brad Marchand. He always spoke to us with great class, humor and respect. »
Dubé: “Barry Trotz. He was always pleasant company. He is very charming. »
The player who disappointed you the most
McGuire: “The Max Domi of the second season versus the one of the first. We saw the antithesis of what we had seen the year before. I was very disappointed by this. »
Dubé: “Mike Komisarek. With the Leafs, he became sarcastic. It disappointed me. We saw another side of him. »